Prof. Van Helsing is in danger of prosecution for the murder of Dracula...until a hypnotic woman steals the Count's body and cremates it. Bloodless corpses start appearing in London again, and Hungarian countess Marya Zaleska seeks the aid of Jeffrey Garth, psychiatrist, in freeing herself of a mysterious evil influence. The scene changes from foggy London back to that eerie road to the Borgo Pass...Written by
Rod Crawford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Four days after production wrapped, Universal's principal creditor, Standard Capital Corp., seized control of the studio and the Laemmle family - including patriarch Carl Laemmle, who had founded the studio - were unceremoniously kicked out. See more »
The sergeant refers to the police station to which the body of Dracula has been brought as "Whitby Jail". The term "jail" is only used in the UK to refer to dedicated prison facilities (and mostly in a historical context: e.g. Newgate Gaol). It it not used to refer to police stations. See more »
"Dracula's Daughter" (Universal, 1936), directed by Lambert Hillyer, based on Bram Stoker's story, "Dracula's Guest," is a long overdue sequel to the 1931 classic, "Dracula," starring Bela Lugosi, the film that started the Universal horror cycle of the 1930s. With Dracula being one of the most famous of vampire movies, it's sequel, which ended the first cycle of horror, captures all the moods and atmospheric elements of a fine horror film, is sadly very underrated and seldom revived these days possibly because of its lack of "star names" heading the cast. Tastefully underscored, by which the original lacked, also helps make this movie worth viewing.
"Dracula's Daughter" begins where its predecessor ended. In spite of the five year span between films, minus all the principle players from the earlier film, only Edward Van Sloan reprises his role as Professor Van Helsing, the role he originated from the 1927 stage production that featured Bela Lugosi. The leading romantic characters of Mina Seward and John Harker are gone and not seen nor mentioned again. The story opens in a gloomy mansion in England where police officials arrive to find a dead body of a Mr. Renfield and the body of Count Dracula in a coffin with a stake pressed through his heart as committed by Professor Van Helsing. Confessing to the deed of Dracula's demise, he is then placed under arrest and taken to Scotland Yard. Later, a mysterious woman named Countess Marya Zaleska (Gloria Holden), Dracula's daughter, along with her evil looking assistant named Sandor (Irving Pichel), take the body of her vampire father and burns it to ashes during a Black Mass. Although she feels she is free from her father's curse, Zakeska continues to seek out her victims as did her late father. One of her proposed victims is a young blonde streetwalker named Lily (Nan Grey), who is "hired" to become her model, but learns that this mysterious woman wants more than her time to pose.
Otto Kruger heads the cast as Doctor Jeffrey Garth, a psychoanalyst who is called on by Zaleska for help, but instead she becomes very much interested in this mortal. Marguerite Churchill co-stars as Janet Blake, Garth's assistant and fiancée who is later kidnapped by Zaleska and taken to Dracula's castle in Transylvania where the young girl is held hostage in order to get Garth. Unlike "Dracula," this sequel includes some moments of intentional humor, supplied by Hedda Hopper as Lady Esme Hammond, a society woman, who recites one particular line, "My guests are just dying to meet you"; Billy Bevan, a comedian of silent comedy, as a frightened policeman; Claude Allister as Sir Aubrey Vail. Look for E.E. Clive (the noted burgomaster from "The Bride of Frankenstein" (1935) in a smaller role.
The sole interest to this minor horror gem is Gloria Golden, a newcomer making her second screen appearance. In spite of her fine performance, she never became a household name as Bela Lugosi. In fact, Holden even looks like she could have been Lugosi's overgrown daughter, especially with her dark mannerisms and ghostly features. Since there wasn't much of a market for female movie monsters, Holden's career in this genre was thus short lived. She appeared in other movies, but this is possibly the one film that showcases her best, leaving some lasting appeal to her character. Her moments of horror such as her gloomy moments during the Black Mass and her hypnotizing her proposed victims are notable mentions. While "Dracula's Daughter" is nearly forgotten, it is worth digging up again.
DRACULA'S DAUGHTER, available on either video cassette or DVD, formerly aired on cable TV's Sci-Fi Channel (late 1980s), American Movie Classics channel (prior to 2001) and Turner Classic Movies (TCM premiere: November 30, 2012). Horror movie fans should some great chills and thrills with this one. (**1/2)
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